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American Health Care as An Intentional Mess
The more mess, the more money.

by Everett Wilson
August 15, 2009

If I understand the Republican leadership about health care, their position boils down to this.

  1. A dying child is the family's responsibility. The child is dying because the family cannot pay its insurance premium, but that is their problem.
  2. When the child's dying is irreversible, the parents take the child to the emergency room, where it is seldom cured—too late for that—but gets maintenance care at maximal expense. Since the care is unfunded, the hospital eats the expense by tacking it on to the bills of those who have insurance or private means. After those resources are exhausted, magical "grants" make their way into the system to cover shortfalls. In the language of health care, you do not use the words "taxpayer" and "grant" in the same paragraph—or the same universe, if you can avoid it. Taxpayers are victims. Grant providers are saints. 
  3. Save lives, but protect your friends and show a profit!
  4. Kill it! Call it Bad Names. Call it Socialized Medicine, whether you know what you are talking about, or not. If you like to call it socialized medicine, here are some other names you can use.
    Public schools=socialized education.
    Public roads=socialized transportation.
    Public libraries=socialized reading
    Public parks=socialized recreation
    Public water=socialized water.

What's the big deal about medicine, when we do all these other things through public funding of one kind or another?

The answer is money. Medicare is an enormously fat cash cow for the private medical sector, as are privately-owned patents in health care when compared to the cash flow of the public parks and libraries.
The financial competition engendered makes a few of us richer, but not healthier. Though we spend about 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, the second highest percentage in the world, our system ranks just 37th in performance among the nations. In comparison France ranked #1 in performance, while spending just 11% of GDP. (Reference)
While our health-care providers and investors are lining their pockets, other nations are leading the way. To borrow the words of D.L. Moody from another context, I like their way of doing it better than our way of not doing it.

About the Author:

Upon returning to the United States in 1988 after twelve years in Canada, Everett Wilson wrote an article for Christianity Today affirming  the good experience of his family with Canadian health care.  In return he got some mean letters.  Not very informed ones, however. 

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